Hugtto! Precure – Episode 19

Hello folks, and welcome the heck back to Wrong Every Time. You all up for some Precure? It feels like we’re living in a different timeline entirely from when we last checked in, and though the world at large is still mostly on fire, I imagine the world of Hugtto is as friendly and soothing as ever. A bit moreso than usual, in fact, considering Emiru and Lulu just poignantly reaffirmed their friendship.

The Emiru-Lulu relationship has turned into one of Hugtto’s unexpected highlights, contrasting two of the show’s most unusual characters in a way that humanizes both of them. Last episode reconciled them on an emotional level, but they’re currently still just Precure-adjacent, rather than actual Precures. I’m expecting that to change soon, but whatever happens, I’m sure Hugtto has a delightful time in store for us. Let’s get to it!

Episode 19

Hana just bounding out of the corner like a tiny gremlin and then rushing the camera, eager to greet the audience. This show is so good; so dedicated to making the audience feel welcome that it opens with this emotional booster shot, emphatically declaring that it’s happy you’re here

“Emiru found out we were Precure! But she’s such a good girl…” THIS IS TRUE

Oh right, Henri had just shown up

“The Long-Awaited Runway Debut!?” Something tells me this is not the Lulu-becomes-a-Precure episode

Clever layout here. By placing Henri in front of a long mirror, we’re able to keep all characters’ faces in the frame throughout this conversation, creating the sense of a shot-countershot dialogue without any actual transitions

“Good to see you’re just as painfully goddess-like as ever.” Harry jokes, but I am genuinely glad to see Hugtto celebrating a male character who’s preoccupied with a bunch of traditionally feminine-coded activities

Nice use of thick linework for Hana’s devastated reaction here, as she learns this is not in fact her big break

Henri wants Emiru and Lulu to join him for a modeling gig

“That whole mismatch feel you’ve got going on is great.” Blunt, but accurate

Emiru immediately gets anxiety about performing in public, and thus reverts to her old risk-aversion coping mechanism. Nice to see Lulu actually able to console her here, by listing off the statistical improbability of her various disaster scenarios

“Emiru, is it truly that you don’t want to do this?” Lulu’s being quite the considerate friend. Emiru does sometimes need to be pushed outside her comfort zone, but it should be done for the sake of helping her achieve her own desires – not out of some general refusal to accept her shy nature

“Emiru… it is only because we are together that I have chosen to take on this task.” LULU IS SO GOOD

Lulu can now embody Hugtto’s most cherished power: the ability to cheer on others, and help them pursue their happiest selves

Hana’s extremely trustworthy face is very good

And Henri is already confident they’re Precure. He wonders why they don’t just admit they’re Precure to the world, which would certainly make for an interesting season

“You’re dressed like a girl. The other boys are beginning to worry about you.” Oh hell yeah, we’re actually getting into how Henri is bullied for his un-masculine behavior! Not that it’s a good thing Henri is bullied, but setting your story in a magical world where discrimination doesn’t exist doesn’t really “solve” discrimination. What Henri faces is a real, tangible issue, and for kids facing similar issues, acknowledging the struggle can feel more validating and instructive than simply presenting a world where no one is prejudiced at all. I appreciate that Hugtto is willing to tackle Henri’s struggles face-on

“Talking to people who don’t want to understand is a waste of time.” Hell yeah, Henri. No one is going to be loved by everyone; therefore you should embrace your true self, and cherish the people who love you for it

The designer is Yoshimi Rita, a former Monster of the Week

Terrific expression work throughout this episode, and I appreciate that that extends to the group shots. Homare’s aggrieved expression after Henri gives away their secret identities is perfect

Her collection’s title is “Girls Can Be Heroes Too!” How could Emiru possibly say no to starring in a fashion show version of her dream future

Their painting outfits are all adorable, but Hugtan absolutely steals the show with her tiny bear hoodie

They’re getting some solid mileage out of how Emiru and Lulu are both sort of high-strung, and thus can learn some of the same lessons from their friends

Some very unusual imagery as we return to Popple and Criasu Corp. A man ties a message to a dove, and sends it into the night sky. I believe this the same man Hana met during that rainstorm; Hugtto’s mysterious antagonist, who appears and disappears in a flash of surrealist beauty

I didn’t expect another Emiru-Lulu episode, but I certainly can’t complain. Nice contrast of their inspirations as each of them sits at the mirror; Lulu is capable of moving beyond her comfort zone because of her desire to support Emiru, while Emiru is steadied in her own rise by Lulu’s support

Oh shit, I didn’t realize Emiru’s brother was actually one of the boys harassing Henri at school

“Girls can be heroes too? Isn’t that ridiculous? ‘Hero’ is a man’s word, after all.” And he sucks even more than I remembered. The one-two punch of sexism and cruelty to his sister is really something

And then Henri comes out, in a full wedding dress. FUCK your restrictive gender norms, asshole! And fuck your smug, dismissive approach to being a big brother!

“Why are you wearing a dress?” “Because I thought it was lovely. Is there a problem with that? I will wear what I like.” Ahhh, this is so good! Emiru’s brother is ultimately a coward; he hides behind the assumed power of social censure, mocking others for their deviation from the status quo. But here, among supportive friends, Henri’s genuine confidence and pride completely outshine his petty barbs. Fuck you, I’ll wear a dress if I want, and I’ll look great doing it

Also just lovely seeing Precure emphatically say Fuck Gender Norms, boys can wear dresses and girls can be heroes if they want

A new Criasu Corp employee appears, taking advantage of big brother’s bad vibes

Some imaginative new cuts for this lady’s requisition process

Oh god, what is Emiru’s brother going to turn into? What is the physical embodiment of the patriarchy?

I guess just a larger version of himself, actually

Yep, it’s just a vaguely monster-fied dude in a suit

“You’re late, heroes. Looks like you’ll have to save the princess now.” Even clasped in the hands of a supernatural monster, Henri insists on continuing to dismantle the patriarchy. Bless you, Henri

I will forever be amused by Hana’s weapon. “I don’t want a sword that hurts people… I want an instrument to inspire them. Which you can also SHOOT like a GUN.”

Realizing the nature of the enemy, Henri actually hugs the monster, and tries to reach out to Emiru’s brother. Henri is just absolutely killing it this episode

And Henri actually wins the fight, by encouraging this monster to love itself in the way he already does

Gelos is our new Criasu Corp liaison

“Girls can become heroes. I do want to become Precure – together with you, Lulu!” At last, Emiru has the confidence to declare what she really wants, no matter how the world may judge her for it

And Done

Heck yeah Precure! This turned out to be yet another largely Emiru/Lulu-focused episode, as Lulu helped Emiru work up the confidence to truly seek her goals. But ultimately, the star of the show was undoubtedly Henri, who consistently embodied a confident, compassionate approach to self-presentation, and who basically defeated gender altogether in a brisk twenty minutes. I expect children’s shows to have lessons like “respect your friends’ feelings” and “know you can always ask for help,” but “gender presentation is an entirely arbitrary concept, and the coolest thing you can do is simply represent your authentic self” is a bit less common. This episode handled that message beautifully, while also reveling in the delightful friendship shared by Henri and our five leads. Another standout episode!

This article was made possible by reader support. Thank you all for all that you do.

Check Also

Winter 2021 – Week 9 in Review

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Wrong Every Time. I’m pleased to report that I’ve …